Shearer re­calls record day

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE - By Ge­off Adams

A record-break­ing shearer, who used his skills to ed­u­cate peo­ple in Third World coun­tries, will be hon­oured with an el­e­va­tion to the Shear­ers’ Hall of Fame this year.

Brian Mor­ri­son, a for­mer VFL foot­baller who gave up his sport in favour of a job, was born in Long­wood and now lives in Be­nalla.

Cu­ri­ously, his grand­son Harry Mor­ri­son, 20, now plays for Hawthorn in the AFL, and told Coun­try News he knew about his grand­fa­ther’s foot­balling ca­reer and al­ways looked up to him.

But things have changed since Brian played for Rich­mond in the 1960s.

Brian went to prac­tice twice a week and was ex­pected to hold down a sep­a­rate job.

For Harry, foot­ball is full-time. Brian had one coach, Harry has about 10.

Brian played for only one sea­son be­cause he had his heart set on earn­ing enough money to buy his own farm and couldn’t see that goal be­ing re­alised if he fol­lowed the foot­ball.

And he had con­sid­er­able skill as a shearer, go­ing on to win state and na­tional ti­tles in shear­ing com­pe­ti­tions and rep­re­sent­ing Aus­tralia in New Zealand at the Golden Shears com­pe­ti­tions.

He also rep­re­sented Aus­tralia at the in­ter­na­tional expo in Ja­pan in 1970.

Brian brought na­tional at­ten­tion to Euroa and his home­town of Long­wood in 1972 when he sheared 410 Merino wean­ers in the RSL Hall in seven hours and 48 min­utes to cre­ate sev­eral new world records.

At one point he was shear­ing each an­i­mal in un­der one minute.

The son of a rail­way sta­tion mas­ter at Long­wood, Brian learned to shear when he was about 14 years old at the Sale­sian Catholic Col­lege in Sunbury.

One of nine chil­dren, he raised pocket money in ru­ral work in­clud­ing hay cart­ing and rab­bit­ing.

He nur­tured a dream of own­ing his own farm and even­tu­ally he and wife Judy got their farm.

Brian’s rep­u­ta­tion grew quickly af­ter the record-break­ing event, and he was com­mis­sioned by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to teach shear­ing in In­dia as part of an over­seas aid pro­gram.

In 1973 he and Judy started a busi­ness mak­ing clothes de­signed to cater for the unique re­quire­ments of the shearer.

Even­tu­ally this busi­ness, Mor­risons of Euroa, ex­tended to mak­ing cloth­ing for the main­stream, in­clud­ing sheep­skin coats and jack­ets, and at its peak em­ployed up to 75 peo­ple.

They also pro­vided some of the wardrobe for the iconic Aus­tralian film, The Man from Snowy River, which was filmed near Mans­field.

The cou­ple also got to have lunch with film star Kirk Douglas.

Brian’s mem­ory is not as good as it once was, but he does not hes­i­tate when asked how he felt af­ter com­plet­ing the 1972 shear­ing record: ‘‘bug­gered!’’.

He was so fa­tigued the doc­tor in the crowd was be­gin­ning to worry about him, and he was de­hy­drated for hours af­ter the event.

Brian, Judy and fam­ily mem­bers hope to at­tend the Shear­ers’ Hall of Fame in­duc­tion cer­e­mony at Easter as part of the Fes­ti­val of the Blades at Shear Out­back in Hay, NSW.

There will be a din­ner at the Hay Ser­vices Club on Satur­day, April 20. ■ For more in­for­ma­tion, phone Kathy Finn at Shear Out­back on (02) 6993 4000 or email: [email protected]­back.com.au

Hon­oured . . . Brian and Judy Mor­ri­son at Be­nalla re­cently.

Big news . . . The front page of the Shep­par­ton News tells the story.

On the board . . . Brian Mor­ri­son in his record-break­ing event.

Fa­mous . . . The Euroa Gazette an­nounces Brian Mor­ri­son’s world record-break­ing shear­ing suc­cess in 1972.

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